HC Deb 29 April 1892 vol 3 cc1743-4

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [18th February],"That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

(11.54.) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER, Isle of Wight)

Here I think I may fairly ask for some explanation. So far as I am concerned, I should be glad to see any proper scheme formulated by which Industrial and Provident Societies may acquire the freehold leaseholds; but I do not understand at safeguards the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Seale-Hayne) proposes to secure that the Bill should apply only to those whom it is intended to benefit. I am quite well aware that this matter formed the subject of discussion before a Committee upstairs—the Town Holdings Committee, I think—and that it is upon the result of that discussion the Bill is introduced; but that does not seem to me a sufficient explanation when we are asked to deal with only one branch of that inquiry. I think the House should have some explanation, so that we may judge of the principle which has been adopted before we assent to the Second Reading. I do not think you ought to take out any particular part of the subject without saying if you are able to separate it from those evils some of us think accompany it. I have not the slightest objection to discuss the Bill, but it must have a fair discussion. The Second Reading cannot be taken pro formâ, and possibly the House will consider it will be more convenient to adjourn the debate now.

(11.56.) MR. SEALE-HAYNE (Devon, Ashburton)

The Bill simply carries out a unanimous recommendation of the Town Holdings Committee that Provident Societies should be empowered to purchase the reversion of their leases; it does nothing more than carry out that recommendation. The Bill has nothing of a Party character about it, hon. Members from either side of the House having set their names to it. The Bill is earnestly desired by Provident and Industrial Societies throughout the country, and I trust that the Attorney General will consent to the Second Reading, allowing points of detail to stand over for the Committee stage, which I will appoint for any day he pleases, allowing ample time for the consideration of Amendments.

*(11.58.) MR. TOMLINSON

I do not happen to know the grounds upon which the Town Holdings Committee made their recommendations, and the hon. Member has not enlightened us. But I assume there were some cases of hardship in reference to Societies of this kind upon which this recommendation was made. But this, I understand, was not the only recommendation made by the Town Holdings Committee, and I very much doubt the expediency of taking one kind of property here and another kind of property there, and dealing with them in separate Bills. As to this Bill being very much desired by these Societies, I may mention that I received a request from gentlemen representing a Co-operative Society that I would support the Bill, and I wrote to them asking them in what way they expected the Bill would benefit them, for I had a strong impression that they did not know whether the provisions of the Bill would be of any use to them, but I have received no reply.——

It being Midnight, the Debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.